The search for life on Mars is one of the main objectives of space missions. At “Pahrump Hills Field Site” (Gale Crater, Mojave target), inside the mudstones of the Murray lacustrine sequence, Curiosity rover found organic materials and lozenge shaped laths considered by NASA as pseudomorphic crystals. Besides it detected mineral assemblages suggesting both oxidizing (hematite) and reducing (magnetite) environments, as well as acidic (diagenetic and/or authigenic jarosite) and neutral (apatite) conditions, that might suggest bacterially mediated reactions. Our morphological and morphometrical investigations show that such diagenetic microstructures are unlikely to be lozenge shapes and, in addition to several converging features, they suggest the presence of remnants of complex algal-like biota, similar to terrestrial procaryotes and/or eukaryotes; possible microorganisms that, on the base of absolute dating criteria used by other scholars, lived on Mars about 2.12 +/−0.36 Ga ago.
Part of the book: Solar System Planets and Exoplanets